A Six-Week Evening Course on Music for Film

From silent film accompaniment to multi-selling soundtracks, film music has evolved to become an essential and dynamic component. Compositions from award-winners such as Ennio Morricone or John Williams are instantly identifiable, their soundtracks contributing to the visceral and emotional cinema experience.

This six-week course will look at examples of film music, from the experimental to big budget composition. The course will run on consecutive Tuesdays, commencing at 18.30 unless otherwise stated. Order of screenings may vary slightly.

Notes by Alicia McGivern

TICKETS: €80 (including tea/coffee) for complete course (concessions €75). Booking for the complete course through our website. Film tickets not individually sold.

PLUS, in association with the National Concert Hall and RTE Concert Orchestra, IFI Evening Course attendees will receive a special discount ticket of €20 for Jaws live!

DOWN ARGENTINE WAY – Oct 9th (18.30)
Irving Cummins / 89 mins, USA, 1940, DVD

Our opening film looks back to a golden era for women’s pictures in Hollywood, when every major studio regularly produced female-driven stories. As one of the most popular genres, the musical served as a vehicle for women to air unconventional views, through the medium of song.

Writer, lecturer and Sass Mouth Dames Film Club host Dr Megan McGurk will discuss this classic, which was a star vehicle for both Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda.

KATALIN VARGA – Oct 16th (18.30)
Peter Strickland / 82 mins, Romania-UK, 2009, 35mm, Subtitled

This extraordinary, Carpathian-set rape-revenge drama sees a woman and her son track across the mountains in search of her abusers. Using music and intricate soundscapes as narrative devices, director Peter Strickland demonstrates a complex understanding of sound.

Musicologist and lecturer Dr Danijela Kulezic-Wilson will discuss the film’s juxtaposition of sound and vision, and their contribution to the emotional and moral aspects of the story.

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE – Oct 23rd (18.30)
Jacques Tourneur / 69 mins, USA, 1943, Digital

Together with producer Val Lewton, Jacques Tourneur directed a number of low-budget horror films for RKO Studios, including this ethereal one concerning  Canadian nurse Betsy, hired to care for a Caribbean plantation owner’s ailing wife. Determined to cure her patient, she turns to the island’s voodoo.

Dr Gwenda Young of UCC will discuss early horror soundtracks and how this film’s inclusion of calypso contributes to the overall atmosphere of unease.

LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE – Oct 30th (18.30)
Jean Cocteau / 93 mins, France, 1946, Digital, Subtitled

Enchanting, breathtaking imagining from the genius filmmaker that was Jean Cocteau, who
adapted the classic French fairytale for the mood of Vichy France. Collaborating with Georges Auric, the soundtrack generates some of the film’s magic through its combination of music and silence.

Musicologist Dr Laura Anderson will discuss the role of music in this film and in the context of Cocteau and Auric’s wider careers.

AMISTAD – Nov 6TH (18.00)
Steven Spielberg / 157 mins, USA, 1997, Digital

John Williams’s compositions for films such as Star Wars, Jaws and ET are instantly recognisable
for their majestic sweep and stirring themes. Less well-known is his music for Amistad, a drama concerning the 1839 revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish ship off the US coast.

Dr John O’Flynn of DCU will discuss the music of John Williams and offer an overview of the composer’s award-winning style.

Various / 60 mins screening time approx.

Maurice Seezer is a songwriter and film music composer who has contributed to soundtracks for films by Jim Sheridan and Baz Luhrmann and collaborated with Gavin Friday. As Music in Film Programmer of the Fastnet Film Festival, he has overseen the selection of numerous short films and has compiled some of his favourites for our evening course.

In an illustrated talk, Maurice will discuss how the musical accompaniment to each short film exemplifies the composers’ different approaches.


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